The offices of the former Ohio Institute of Cardiac Care in Springfield.
Photo: STAFF FILE
Photo: STAFF FILE

Late cardiologist’s wife gets 5 years in  prison for role in $2M health care fraud

RELATED: Springfield cardiologist’s wife to be sentenced in fraud case

Cindy Dahdah, 61, of Beavercreek, and her late husband, Dr. Salim Dahdah, conspired to commit health care fraud from 2007 until 2015, according to a release from Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

The Dahdahs provided medically unnecessary medical tests and procedures, including invasive cardiac procedures, exposing patients to the risk of serious physical harm, according to court documents and testimony.

Cindy Dahdah pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to commit and committing health care fraud and making false statements related to health care matters. Her husband also pleaded guilty in October 2018 to the same crimes. He died May 24, prior to being sentenced. They were among more than 400 indicted in what the U.S. Justice Department called a health care fraud takedown.

Cindy Dahdah, the wife of Dr. Salim Dahdah, was sentenced to prison time for her role in a $2 million health care fraud scheme.

RELATED: Springfield cardiologist, wife plead guilty in federal health care fraud case

Salim Dahdah was a licensed cardiologist and owner of the Ohio Institute of Cardiac Care in Springfield. The practice eventually used the name Advanced Cardiology Associates Inc. Cindy Dahdah incorporated ACCU-BIL Management Inc., a privately held medical and billing company established in 2001 in Beavercreek. The couple also owned a primary care practice in the same building as the cardiology practice.

RELATED: Patients react to fraud indictment of Springfield cardiologist

As part of their conspiracy, the couple created aggressive medical protocols for cardiac-related tests and procedures they required staff to follow, regardless of the medical necessity.

RELATED: Patient records of indicted Springfield cardiologist in limbo

The Dahdahs would name a patient’s last seen doctor as a referring physician for invasive and unnecessary procedures, even through they were not ordered by that doctor. Cindy Dahdah would often reprimand, humiliate or threaten to terminate employees who refused to schedule the medical tests, the release stated.

To increase revenue, Salim Dahdah intentionally misinterpreted cardiac tests to justify risky procedures like the insertion of heart defibrilators when they were not necessary. For example, he told a patient in his or her 30s that he or she would die without a heart surgery. The patient underwent the surgery in 2013, and later had to undergo a second risky heart surgery, by another cardiologist, to have it removed.

RELATED: Doctor being investigated for fraud suspended from Medicaid

As a result of the health care fraud scheme, the Dahdahs caused more than 2,000 fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare, Ohio Medicaid and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield totaling approximately $2 million.

RELATED: Springfield cardiologist among hundreds charged with health care fraud

“The human cost of this couple’s crimes far outweighs the financial cost,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost stated. “These patients believed their life-altering treatments were medically necessary, but it was all a ploy aimed at squeezing more money out of the state. Nothing not even this sentence can erase the anguish inflicted upon this couple’s victims.”

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